Horticulture Consulting : The Ontario Pesticide Ban is a Farce

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Ontario Pesticide Ban – Year Two

Waiting until February to hear the presentation at the Ontario Turfgrass Symposium of just how great the Ontario pesticide ban is working really makes me want to get a jump start in just how erroneous those claims will be. Bans on products or activities has historically only contributed to one thing – forcing these products or activities underground and out of sight. And unlike armchair environmentalists who make claims to how effective the ban has been, over the past two years I have spoke with not a dozen, or a hundred, but thousands of individual residential homeowners who generally fall into a few categories:

1. People who still do not know there is a pesticide ban.
Even after 2 years, the education of residential homeowners has been lacking. The provincial government has done a poor job of informing the public as to the reasons such a ban was implemented and what the penalties for use are. Melting icecaps and dying polar bears is not education or an explanation. Instead, it is left to the radical and rabid environmental doomsayers to emotionally portray the synthetic pesticide products (2,4-D, imidacloprid, and pyrethrum) as mutagenic and carcinogenic and horrifically deleterious to human and environmental health – contrary to most valid scientific research. Or by the PMRA.

2. People who hoarded product prior to the ban being implemented. A good chunk of people simply stockpiled products prior to the ban and are using them as they see fit – correctly or incorrectly – we’ll never know, since it is now out of reach of provincial oversight and regulation that licensed applicators and companies needed to obey. So the misuse of pesticide products remains – and the ban has ensured this.

3. People who are obtaining products either from other provinces or mostly from across the border in the United States. Enquiries made to the Canada Border Services Agency, as of October 2010, states that there remains no clarification as to the legality of transporting pesticides over the Ontario border from the US – and there doesn’t appear any rush to do so – since these products are legal at the Federal level. Having talked with homeowners who crossed the border, all stated that if the products are declared, there is no hassle in transporting pesticide products into Ontario. Remember, it is not illegal to own or possess these products, only to apply them. Again, the misuse of products remains – thanks to the ban.

4. People who are using homemade and internet recipes. This is where it gets scary. Personally I’ve seen it all – gasoline, kerosene, naphtha, bleach, sodium chloride, nicotine tea, and the list goes on. The use of any product not registered explicitly by the PMRA as a pest control product is illegal. You can be charged and fined for using these concoctions, but nothing is being done, nor are fines being levied against offenders, nor is there any indication that there will be. This, of course, is never cited as a reason for concern by pro-ban individuals. It should be. By knowledgeable and consciencious licensed pesticide applicators who witness pro-banners using or recommending these products in the third year of the pesticide ban.

5. Those who just use glyphosate. A special-purpose herbicide under 63/09, it can be used to control only two noxious weeds – poison ivy and giant hogweed – on residential properties. Of course if you believe that homeowners will really only use glyphosate for that purpose, well, keep on dreaming. Countless lawns were spot-treated with this non-selective herbicide over the last two years. The results are pretty obvious even to the casual observer. Were any fines levied? Of course not.

6. Those who were forced to break the law due to the ban. Completely laughable, since there wasn’t any registered reduced risk insecticides made available to control chinch bugs, and instead, internet recipes or banned products were used in an attempt to stop damage. The ban has forced individuals into using products which are not registered by the PMRA. In other words, it induces criminality. In order to control chinch bugs in Ontario you are being forced to break the law. No rightminded individual is going to watch their lawn be destroyed in a matter of days for the sake of saving the planet.

Fortunately, there have been small victories by those with rational minds who wish to see a return to a more common sense provincial law which will permit the use of PMRA validated products which have shown acceptable and minimal risk to human health and the environment. Reduced risk products can no longer be touted as, “Safe, Natural or Organic” either by manufacturers or applicators. Several legal ‘cease and desist’ orders were given this year.

Of course, to refute the claims by the environmentalists who use emotion to shock, rather than the rationality of the PMRA, those who do not support the pesticide ban are automatically categorized as hard-core planet killers, hell-bent on injuring pets, children and the environment.

Unfortunately, in Ontario, radicalism has overcome rationality again in year two. It’s time to overturn the new pesticide legislation, and replace it with a reasonable alternative which re-introduces certain products for commercial use while keeping these products off store shelves.

Posted by Glen Baumgarten, BA, CLT at 11:23 AM 0 comments
Labels: 2 4-D, dicamba, FeHEDTA, Fiesta herbicide, imidacloprid, mecoprop, Ontario pesticide ban, Organo-sol, Phoma macrostoma, PMRA, Sarritor, Sclerotinia minor

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